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film criticism by maryann johanson | since 1997

Legally Blonde 2: Red White and Blonde (review)

It’s Ms. Woods Goes to Washington as the superchipper Barbie-with-a-brain and her pink wardrobe head to the nation’s capital for some fun with law and politics. It can’t hope to match the original for sheer surprise — who’d have thunk fashion and the judicial system could play so nicely together? — but it tries harder than you’d expect. Instead of the typical rote sequel cashing in on the unexpectedly smashing success of a first film, here the stakes have been raised and the lessons for the sweetly naive Elle are tougher to take when she decides to go up against Congress in her crusade to ban animal testing of cosmetics. The film’s appeal relies almost entirely on the delightful Reese Witherspoon (Sweet Home Alabama) as Elle, who balances irresistibly bright smiles and bubble-gum charm with intestinal fortitude and a dogged determination not to be knocked off her Jimmy Choos. And while it may read like fantasy, the idea that one committed, nonelected gal and her Chihuahua can make a difference, that says more about where we’ve gone as a nation than it does about any faults with the film.


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MPAA: rated PG-13 for some sex-related humor

viewed at a semipublic screening with an audience of critics and ordinary moviegoers

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